Exercising is not only good for the body, but also for the soul. I experienced this first-hand during a recent visit to Klein-Aus Vista in Namibia’s beautiful south, where you can hike and mountain bike to your leisure.
It is widely known: Exercise not only increases physical performance, but also reduces stress and promotes mental well-being. To be honest, I didn't give it a second thought when I set off on my mountain bike from the Desert Horse Inn to check out Klein-Aus Vista's other accommodation options.
First, I headed to the nearby, well-maintained campsite, which is nicely nestled between rugged mountain ranges. A little further away on a hill, against a rock face (gasp!) are the self-catering Eagle's Nest Chalets. They offer a unique view over the vast landscape.
Here I realised: the journey is the destination. It was wonderful to be out in nature, to let your mind wander, to feel the sun and the wind. To experience that physical movement lightens the mood and makes you really happy. The rational explanation being that sunlight increases the vitamin D level in the body and the release of the happiness hormone serotonin.
In a good mood, I cycled towards a gorge at the entrance of which lies a wrecked car. A sign told me that this rusty Hudson Terraplane, riddled with bullets, is the subject of a fascinating ghost story. Supposedly, two diamond thieves were on the run with the Hudson (built in 1934) and were caught by the police at the entrance to Ghost Gulch. The thieves were shot dead, but the diamonds were never found. Rumour has it that the thieves return on moonlit nights and haunt Ghost Gulch in search of their diamonds.
Now you know where the Geisterschlucht Cabin (Ghost Gulch Cabin), a rustic self-catering accommodation for groups of family or friends, got its name. The way back to the Desert Horse Inn felt like it was all uphill. The blissful rush wore off a bit - I could be fitter...
The elation returned as soon as I arrived at the Desert Horse Inn. It was a wonderful afternoon! Considering that just half an hour of exercise a day keeps you healthy and slows down the biological ageing process, I've really achieved something!
The good feeling remained as I set off on foot the next day. The well-marked hiking trails invite to explore the diverse flora and fauna of the Succulent Karoo and the breath-taking landscape of the Aus Mountains, the ramparts built by German Schutztrupplers more than 100 years ago and, of course, the 'Stone Horse' in Land Art style.
This 100x150 m land art stone horse can be admired from a vantage point on a mountain. (Photo: Lance Foster)
Standing on the mountain top, I enjoyed the light breeze and the spectacular view over the vast landscape. Simply marvellous!
An active holiday at Klein-Aus Vista is pure relaxation. Delicious food, quiet hours by the pool, interesting excursions and sunsets in widescreen format contribute to the feel-good effect - a short getaway with a big impact.
Author: Inke Stoldt
Photos: Gondwana Collection